Leadership guru John Baldoni has identified a strategy, called “The Just One More Solution,” that that gives the crucial edge to today’s business survivors. In his April 16, 2009 blog on the Harvard Business Publishing website, Baldoni describes a friend’s persistence and tenacity in making 62 telephone calls to land a new account.
“The Just One More Solution” is very simple. In a floundering economy, a business owner or manager must have the tenacity to do one more thing; perhaps the event that triggers another sale, or helps the company cross the break even point for the month.
Certainly, tenacity alone may not save a company that is in a hard-hit industry or community, but as I drive by closed businesses I often wonder about the personality of the owner. Did he or she have what it takes to survive in today’s difficult business climate?
Do you as a business owner or manager have what it takes to be a strong leader? Are you hungry enough to take that extra step to get your company moving one more rung up the ladder?
One story in history stands out about strong ingenious leaders and crisis, illustrating the “just one more” response in a life-and-death situation. I remember reading, as an elementary school student, the 1961 book PT 109 by Robert Donovan, about Lt. John Kennedy’s six-day struggle in August 1943 to keep the survivors of his U.S. Navy patrol boat crew alive until they could be rescued.
Kennedy’s wooden boat had been accidently cut in half by a Japanese destroyer on a pitch-black night in the Blackett Strait of the Solomon Islands. Surrounded by Japanese troops on nearby islands and with little hope immediate rescue, Kennedy swam from island to island at night to try to find a safe place for his crew to await rescue by friendly forces.
At one point Kennedy spent 30 hours in the ocean water. The six-day ordeal was both physically and mentally exhausting and challenging for Kennedy and his men, but he continued to lead and find just one more solution…until they swam to an island with friendly natives. The natives helped the Americans until they were rescued.
Thanks to the tenacity and will to survive on the part of Kennedy and his crew, 11 of the 13 crew members survived. The two crew members who did die were killed when the Japanese destroyer cut the boat in half.
Kennedy demonstrated tremendous bravery and leadership. During the six-day ordeal, he had no reason to believe they would succeed at their goal to be rescued without any further loss of his crew. Just as modern business leaders should, he tackled one challenge at a time while keeping a common goal in sight.
Business owners and managers could learn from reading PT 109 because successful business owners embrace the same characteristics of strong leadership, tenacity, and innovation in crisis. I am not suggesting that every business owner needs to be a John Kennedy, or have graduated from Harvard, but I am suggesting that during the tough times of today, those in the position to lead their companies to safety and beyond can learn from his story. What’s your “just one more” strategy?
EXTRA: If you have questions for Sam regarding business financing, the credit market, and similar issues, please send an e-mail. Your questions will be recorded and Sam will answer the best ones in his Ask the Expert podcast show.